Legal battle: Omtatah challenges banknotes notice

Wednesday, August 7th, 2019 00:00 |
Activist Okiya Omtatah moved to court yesterday seeking to stop the President from extending the BBI team’s mandate. Photo/PD/FILE

Nancy Gitonga

Human rights activist Okiya Omtatah has moved to court challenging a legal notice on new currency issued last Thursday by the Attorney General Kihara Kariuki.

In his petition filed before the High Court, Omtatah claims the AG abused his office by issuing a legal notice dated July 1, 2019 declaring the new coins and notes as  statutory instruments.

“I seek the court to stop the Attorney General from abusing his office and powers by retrospectively invoking section 22(2) of the Statutory Instruments Act 2013 by trying to resurrect the three statutory instruments unlawfully and irregularly issued by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) on the new currency from being voided by section 11(4) of the Act because they were never laid in Parliament within the period provided,” says Omtatah.

The activist says  the AG acted in vain on August 1,2019 by issuing a Legal Notice No. 133 of  July 31, 2019, purporting to declare the three statutory instruments issued by the CBK on the new currency were not statutory instruments.

Statutory instruments

The petitioner says  he reasonably suspects that the AG was not acting in good faith when he retrospectively issued  the legal notice, desperately hoping to exempt the three statutory instruments from the fate prescribed by the law.    

He says the attempt by the AG to declare the three statutory instruments as not being statutory instruments is merely a backdoor attempt to shield the CBK from the legal consequences of its failure to follow the law.  

Further Omtatah says  the AG’s actions amount to a “shameless attempt” at subverting the rule of law since the declaration comes after the Clerk of the National Assembly on June 27 2019 wrote a letter to him confirming the three statutory instruments had not been presented to Parliament for scrutiny within the period allowed under the law.

Omtatah wants the AG to explain reasons he considered  the three statutory instruments as not statutory instruments.  

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